15 Shockingly Violent TV Moments You Won't Believe Made It To Air

Thanks to television shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, the oft-recycled conversation about violence on TV is louder than ever, with one side arguing that the empty trauma of gory TV scenes is warping the minds of the world’s youth, while the other side revels in a bloodlust that knows no bounds. While fictional TV violence is probably low on the list of things that are desensitizing people, there are some shockingly violent TV moments that make you glad to be sitting on your couch, and not in the same room with the guy who just used a chainsaw to kill a cheerleader.

The kind of TV shows with the most violence are the series that have death baked right into the premise. If your favorite show is about a tough-as-nails DA who is also juggling a job as a pastry chef, you’re probably not going to see a lot of dead bodies, but if you never miss an episode of Machete Detective, then you’re probably used to the high body count that comes along with your viewing habits. Gruesome television shows take many forms, and in some cases, the violence feels more cartoonish even when it’s technically more blood-soaked than something where the brutality of a scene hits you on an emotional level.

Keep reading to find out which scenes made the cut for the most violent television moments that just barely made it to air. 

Photo: Starz

  • Joffrey's Gross 'Game of Thrones' Wedding

    Joffrey's Gross 'Game of Thrones' Wedding
    Video: YouTube

    Game of Thrones is full of scenes that stack violence on top of violence until you're numb to the gruesome visuals that are playing out in front of you. But Joffrey's death in season 4 is different. It plays out like an extended scene from an unproduced John Hughes movie, where Joffrey's cool guy antagonist (in the John Hughes movie he would have been named Geoff or Thurston) bullies Tyrion Lannister until he gets his inevitable comeuppance. In a series full of people getting stabbed to death and being pushed out of windows, there's something especially violent about watching a guy choke to death on his own poisoned vomit. 

  • The Peacocks Bury A Baby On 'The X-Files'

    The Peacocks Bury A Baby On 'The X-Files'
    Video: YouTube

    It was a task to decide which violent scene from the episode of The X-Files called "Home" to include on this list. Would it be the scene of three inbred monsters burying a still living, disfigured baby? Or would it be the scene where the audience discovers that the inbred creeps are keeping their inbred, paraplegic mother under a bed so they can rape her? In the end, it's closer to a tie. 

  • Glenn Fights A Baseball Bat And The Bat Wins On 'The Walking Dead'

    Glenn Fights A Baseball Bat And The Bat Wins On 'The Walking Dead'
    Video: YouTube

    How have we gotten to a point in society where we're totally cool with watching someone get beaten on tv? This isn't a take down of The Walking Dead, it's just a question. This long and brutal scene must have been a shock to anyone who hadn't read the comic that this episode was based on, and UK censors found it to be so intense that they actually cut a few seconds of his and Abraham's death. 

  • Vince Vaughn Slowly Kills A Guy On 'True Detective'

    Vince Vaughn Slowly Kills A Guy On 'True Detective'
    Video: YouTube

    The violence in this scene waxes and wanes and the aggression that continually bubbles under the surface makes for a very interesting watch. You know what's going to happen from the moment Vince Vaughn's Frank slams his lackey's head into a wall, but it's intriguing to watch the slow beatdown of this wormy thug. This scene was the cherry on top of a gruesome sundae of a season. Now it's time to sit back and let the metaphor awards roll in. 

  • Agent Cooper Smashing His Head Into A Mirror On 'Twin Peaks' Is Still Hard To Watch

    Agent Cooper Smashing His Head Into A Mirror On 'Twin Peaks' Is Still Hard To Watch
    Video: YouTube

    Even though television in the 21st century has brought visuals of people being beaten to death and multiple chainsaw attacks to the world of entertainment, none of those things are as hard to watch as Agent Dale Cooper smashing his head into a mirror. Never mind the fact that he's been taken over by an evil spirit/doppelganger/whatever, watching someone do this to themselves has to have ingrained a little bit of trauma into the psyche of the society of 1991. 

  • Alice Tetch Meets A Pole On 'Gotham'

    Alice Tetch Meets A Pole On 'Gotham'
    Video: YouTube

    Gotham is a very cartoonish show that's slowly unraveling with every week. Fine. It's not meant to be prestige television. But when this show about a boy that wants to be a man-bat wants to get violent, it really goes for the gusto. You don't expect to see a woman with a steel pipe sticking out of her body on network TV, but there it is, Monday nights on Fox.